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Thread: Historians rank Abe Lincoln best president, George W. Bush seventh worst president

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Default Historians rank Abe Lincoln best president, George W. Bush seventh worst president

    (CNN) It's been 145 years since he appeared on a ballot, but America's admiration for the man who saved the union and sparked the end of slavery is stronger than ever, according to a new presidential survey.
    Abraham Lincoln finished first in a ranking by historians of the 42 former White House occupants released over Presidents Day weekend.
    The news wasn't quite as good for the latest addition to the nation's most exclusive fraternity; George W. Bush finished 36th in the survey, narrowly edging out the likes of historical also-rans Millard Fillmore, Warren Harding and Franklin Pierce.
    James Buchanan the man who watched helplessly as the nation lurched toward civil war in the 1850s finished last.
    "As much as is possible, we created a poll that was non-partisan, judicious and fair minded," said Rice University professor Douglas Brinkley, who helped organize the survey of 65 historians for cable television network C-SPAN.

    The survey which asked participants to rank each president on 10 qualities of leadership ranging from public persuasion and economic management to international relations and moral authority was the network's second since 2000.
    The hero of Springfield, Illinois, finished first nine years ago as well.
    "It's fitting that for the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln that he remains at the top of these presidential rankings," Brinkley said.
    "Lincoln continues to rank at the top in all categories because he is perceived to embody the nation's avowed core values: integrity, moderation, persistence in the pursuit of honorable goals, respect for human rights, compassion," Howard University's Edna Medford added.
    Founding father George Washington finished second in the new survey, followed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, in that order.
    Bill Clinton registered the greatest gain among recent presidents, jumping from 21st to 15th in the survey. Ronald Reagan edged forward from 11th to 10th overall, while George H.W. Bush moved up from 20th to 18th.
    The prize for the greatest jump in approval from historians over the last nine years, however, went to a president who has often sat near the bottom of such rankings: Ulysses S. Grant. The Civil War general jumped 10 notches, from 33rd to 23rd.
    "Bill Clinton and Ulysses S. Grant aren't often mentioned in the same sentence until now," historian Richard Norton Smith said. "Participants in the latest (survey) have boosted each man significantly higher than in the original survey conducted in 2000. All of which goes to show two things: the fluidity with which presidential reputations are judged, and the difficulty of assessing any president who has only just recently left office."
    Lincoln wins: Honest Abe tops new presidential survey
    Dubya should be happy that he didn't finish at the very bottom of the list, where he deserves to be.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    I don't know how Dumbya wasn't at the bottom of the list.
    Wait, was Sarah Palin voting?

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    People really need to read up on the type of man Lincoln really was.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Dubya should be happy that he didn't finish at the very bottom of the list, where he deserves to be.
    That's only because not enough time has passed to say for sure. Give it few years!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    People really need to read up on the type of man Lincoln really was.
    Lincoln was no saint by any means, but he has to be given credit for keeping the country together during the Civil War.

    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    That's only because not enough time has passed to say for sure. Give it few years!
    True.

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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    No President is a Saint, as is no one person. I've been watching the Presidents on the history channel all day, I am have to say that I do agree with Lincoln. He had the resolve to keep it together, anguished over the decisions he made, and knew enough when to change his mind on previous stances he once had on an issue.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Lincoln was no saint by any means, but he has to be given credit for keeping the country together during the Civil War.



    True.
    So he gets a pass on being a racist bastard just because he held the country together?

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i don't know why the hell so many people think reagan was a great president. i'm not sure he was even a good one. definitely not deserving of 10th place.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    So he gets a pass on being a racist bastard just because he held the country together?
    who wasn't a racist back then? by today's standards, that is. you can't judge a historical figure by the values we hold today, especially regarding something like racism. it's like calling him sexist. i'm sure he was. but then, everyone was back then. feminism was only beginning.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    So he gets a pass on being a racist bastard just because he held the country together?
    History tends to judge presidents moreso by their political actions, not just by their personal behavior. And whether Lincoln was a racist bastard or not, he did hold the union together when the South tried to tear it apart. And as the president, racist or not, he upheld the Constitution, which is what he was elected to do.

    We've had presidents that were racists, womanizers, drunks, etc. Does that mean that we should just write them off because of their personal failures and forget the good things they did? Life doesn't work like that. Now, Dubya was a drunk and an idiot, but if he had been a decent president people would have a higher opinion of him.

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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    I know I was just a kid when Reagan was president but I thought he was a good one. I tell you I felt safe with him in there. Don't make him drop a nuke.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    History tends to judge presidents moreso by their political actions, not just by their personal behavior. And whether Lincoln was a racist bastard or not, he did hold the union together when the South tried to tear it apart. And as the president, racist or not, he upheld the Constitution, which is what he was elected to do.

    We've had presidents that were racists, womanizers, drunks, etc. Does that mean that we should just write them off because of their personal failures and forget the good things they did? Life doesn't work like that. Now, Dubya was a drunk and an idiot, but if he had been a decent president people would have a higher opinion of him.
    True.

    There was a thread here about whether Lincoln was a racist. By all accounts for most of his life and presidency his words and actions certainly seemed racist. He definitely did not believe in the equality of Black people with Whites, and actually was considering shipping them back to Africa after the civil war. While I understand that people are a product of their times, when a man is considered to hold such a lofty title of 'best U.S. president of all time,' and when many white people of that era were putting their lives on the line to help African American slaves, it does put somewhat of a damper on things.

    But the article did point out that Lincoln did seem to have a change in heart during the latter years of the war and his presidency, particularly due to the bravery of Black Americans in the civil war, and his friendship with Frederick Douglass (an interesting comparison would be the actions of Japanese American soldiers during world war 2).

    So in the end I think his potential change of heart towards the end is enough to satisfy many that while he may have been racist, he was evolving as many great people do. Not to mention that he held this nation together during one of its most terrible trials.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    People really need to read up on the type of man Lincoln really was.
    yeah, because these guys didn't "vett" him first. Of course he had faults, they all did. He was not a saint. He was the best we had though. Bush junior will be moved down the list as time goes on, it is a bit soon to rate him yet. You should be happy, Reagan is way up there.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Lincoln wanted to send the blacks back to Africa or another country because he felt even if they had their freedom here, they would never be accepted. Yes he held some racist views but was always, always against slavery and the treatment given blacks. He also did change his ideas as he got older and had more real life experiences.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    Ulysses S. Grant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In 1868, Grant was elected president as a Republican. Grant was the first president to serve for two full terms since Andrew Jackson forty years before. He led Radical Reconstruction and built a powerful patronage-based Republican party in the South, with the adroit use of the army. He took a hard line that reduced violence by groups like the Ku Klux Klan.


    Presidential experts typically rank Grant in the lowest quartile of U.S. presidents, primarily for his tolerance of corruption. In recent years, however, his reputation as president has improved somewhat among scholars impressed by his support for civil rights for African Americans.[3] [4] Unsuccessful in winning the nomination for a third term in 1880, bankrupted by bad investments, and terminally ill with throat cancer, Grant wrote his Memoirs, which were enormously successful among veterans, the public, and the critics.

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